As Rich Daly broke through yet another 300-pound block of ice Sunday with his chain saw, the 33-year-old Mastic Beach man shattered a Guinness World Record.
Daly, a culinary arts teacher at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, broke the record for “Fastest Time to Carve 60 Ice Sculptures,” which had been set in January 2002 by fellow American Richard Bubin. Bubin accomplished the feat in 4 hours 22 minutes and 55 seconds, according to Michael Empric, an adjudicator for Guinness World Records. Daly’s official time: 2 hours 52 minutes and 12 seconds.
“He really blew this record out of the water,” Empric said.
Daly’s pursuit of a world record was the main attraction Sunday at a festival held in Lakeville, Penn. at Ice Works, which supplied the blocks. He got off to a quick pace, which some people in the crowd questioned whether he could maintain, but Daly never slowed down.
He had devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to training and modifying his chain saws, and even lost 20 pounds while getting in shape for this moment.
“I knew as long as I didn’t hurt myself in the process or there wasn’t an extreme equipment malfunction, I could do it,” said Daly, who also owns an ice-carving business called Ice Melodies.
Although Daly could hear very little over the sound of his power tools, there was one thing he was listening for. He had set an alarm to go off when his time expired.
“I never heard the alarm, but I had no idea I finished in under three hours,” he said. “I still can’t believe I was that fast.”
Daly said he could not have done it without his support team, which quickly moved the ice blocks around and handed him the appropriate chain saws when needed.
Each sculpture Daly carved had to be different, three-dimensional, and approved by a judge before he could move on to the next. He made several Halloween and Christmas-themed items including Jack-o-Lanterns and ghosts, various sea creatures and even a pencil, but the 61st carving he created was a king’s crown to celebrate his own coronation as the new titleholder.
Daly has already been added to Guinness’ database of records and received an official certificate.
He said, “I feel that this record is going to stand forever.”